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Origami Owl LLC v. Mayo

United States District Court, D. Arizona

January 30, 2017

Origami Owl LLC, Plaintiff,
Julie E Mayo, Defendant.


          David G. Campbell United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Origami Owl LLC and Defendant Julie E. Mayo have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. Docs. 108, 110. The motions are fully briefed. Docs. 111, 112, 115, 120, 121. No party requests oral argument. The Court will grant Plaintiff's motion and deny Defendant's motion.

         I. Background.

         Plaintiff sells low-priced jewelry. Doc. 20, ¶ 13. The jewelry includes lockets, chains, dangles, tags, bracelets, and earrings. Id. Defendants West Coast Charms LLC (“WCC”), Julie Mayo, and Ann Mayo are also in the ornamental jewelry business. Id., ¶ 20. On December 10, 2011, Julie Mayo sent an email to Christian Weems, Plaintiff's Co-Founder and President, stating: “I like your charms. I will be making some of your designs also.” Doc. 111, ¶ 6. Ms. Weems sent an email response the same day asking Julie Mayo not to copy Plaintiff's designs, noting that Plaintiff “spent thousands of dollars creating” them. Id., ¶ 7. On December 24, 2011, Julie Mayo sent a second email to Ms. Weems stating: “Customers are very interested in your designs for me to carry. I will not make them if can we [sic] work together.” Id., ¶ 8.

         Between April and November of 2012, Plaintiff's counsel sent three letters to Julie Mayo “asking her to cease and desist from making and selling jewelry that infringes on [Plaintiff's] copyrights.” Id., ¶¶ 9-11. On September 23, 2014, Plaintiff's compliance department sent Julie Mayo another letter advising her that Plaintiff's audit of the internet had revealed that her business sold unauthorized copies of Plaintiff's copyrighted works, and again asked that she cease and desist from making and selling the jewelry. Id., ¶ 12.

         On January 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit, claiming design patent infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271, trademark infringement under 15 U.S.C. § 1114, copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. § 501, and unfair competition under 15 U.S.C. § 1125. Doc. 20. WCC filed counterclaims against Plaintiff, including allegations of direct copyright infringement, trademark infringement, common law unfair competition, and attempted monopolization in violation of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1-2. Doc. 48, ¶¶ 38-124, 135-141. On February 11, 2016, the Court entered a default judgement against WCC and dismissed its counterclaims. Docs. 80, 81, 86. On January 17, 2017, the Court entered judgment against Ann Mayo pursuant to a stipulation for entry of judgment. Doc. 118. Julie Mayo is the last remaining defendant.

         On March 14, 2016, Julie Mayo filed for bankruptcy. The Court stayed this matter until September 14, 2016, or until the bankruptcy stay was lifted. Doc. 85. Following a final decree from the bankruptcy court, the Court lifted the stay on September 23, 2016. Doc. 100. Plaintiff alleges that Julie Mayo has continued to offer and sell the infringing charms, dangles, and heart-shaped glass lockets. Doc. 110 at 17-19; Doc. 111, ¶ 20. Julie Mayo does not contest this assertion in her response. See generally Doc. 115.

         Plaintiff moves for partial summary judgment on its copyright and patent infringement claims. Doc. 110 at 10-19. Plaintiff also seeks a permanent injunction to prevent Julie Mayo “from engaging in future copyright and patent infringement activities.” Id. at 19-22. Julie Mayo seeks summary judgment in her favor. Doc. 108.

         II. Legal Standard.

         A party seeking summary judgment “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary judgment is also appropriate against a party who “fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit will preclude the entry of summary judgment, and the disputed evidence must be “such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         III. Defendant Julie Mayo's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Defendant's motion fails to identify the claims, or parts of claims, on which she seeks summary judgment. See Doc. 108. Her motion is a steady stream of denials (id., ¶¶ 1, 6), unsupported accusations (id., ¶¶ 2-5, 8, 11), demands for a federal investigation (id., ¶¶ 5, 10), threats of bar complaints and criminal charges against Plaintiff's counsel (id., ¶¶ 5, 9, 11, 17), and much tangential and irrelevant information (id., ¶¶ 12-15, 18). Defendant's assertions do not show that Plaintiff's claims fail as a matter of law. Additionally, Defendant fails to submit any supporting documentation or to cite any portion of the record that would support her arguments or establish the absence of a genuine dispute. See Docs. 108, 120, 121. Accordingly, the Court will deny Defendant's motion for summary judgment.[1]

         IV. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on its copyright and patent infringement claims, and a permanent injunction to prevent Defendant from engaging in infringing conduct in the future. Doc. 110 at 10-22.

         A. Copyright Infringement.

         “To establish copyright infringement, a plaintiff must prove two elements: ‘(1) ownership of a valid copyright, and (2) copying of constituent elements of the work that are original.'” Loomis v. Cornish, 836 F.3d 991, 994 (9th Cir. 2016) (quoting Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991)).

         1. Ownership.

         Plaintiff asserts that it owns valid copyrights in the works at issue, and cites copyright certificates for each of the works. Doc. 110 at 10. Defendant responds by arguing that the copyright certificates were procured by fraud, but provides no evidence in support of fraud. Doc. 115, ¶ 3.[2]

         If a party presents a certificate of registration created less than five years after the first publication of the copyrighted work, the law recognizes a rebuttable presumption that the party's ownership of the copyright is valid. 17 U.S.C. § 410(c); United Fabrics Intern., Inc. v. C&J Wear, Inc., 630 F.3d 1255, 1257 (9th Cir. 2011). In this instance, Plaintiff provides copyright certificates covering all 42 items Plaintiff alleges to be infringed. See Doc. 110-1 at 103-72 (Christian Weems Declaration, Exhibit 13). Each certificate was issued within five years of what the certificate reports to be the product's first publication. Id. Thus, ...

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